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Astronomy/Enrichment of Star Clusters


The gravitational pull of an isolated globular gas out of a globular cluster. How might this fact be related to observations indicating that stars ceased to form in globular clusters long ago? How might it be related to the fact that globular clusters are deficient in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium?

Yes, almost all normal globular star clusters are very old Population II stars, very deficient in heavy metals (anything except H and He.).  Well, obviously the members of the cluster used up all their primordial gas very early on when they originally formed up, some 8 - 10 billion years ago, and no new "gas" was created by new supernovae explosions injecting heavier elements in their region of space.
Most of our own globular star clusters ringing the Milky Way are in this condition, all former Population II main sequence stars... red giants now, with life spans of 10-12 billion years. It is thought that as the spherical gas shell of a nascent Milky Way galaxy slowly collapsed into a disk, the globular cluster stars formed out of the primordial dust and gas while the galaxy was still in a spherical shape. And this is why most of our own Globular Star Clusters (Messiers 2-5, 9, 10, 12-15, 19. 22, 28, 30, and others) are in the same condition... almost all red giant Population II stars that orbit the Galaxy out of the plane of the galaxy itself. (So being all metal deficient (higher than He) this would NOT be the place to look for extra-terrestrial life as we know it).
Clear Skies,
Tom Whiting
Erie, PA  


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Tom Whiting


Astronomy has been my hobby/pasttime for over 50 years.  Currently own 3 telescopes, the largest of which is a 30 inch Newtonian truss Dob that is portable.I taught Astronomy/Meteorology at the University Level for 13 years before retiring in 1995. Being retired and home most of the time, I am able to answer all questions relatively quickly, unless it's a new moon weekend with good observing conditions.  No astrology questions please, or questions about alleged UFO picture identifications.


Experience: Astronomy has been my hobby and study for over 50 years. We currently now own a 30 inch portable telescope (Updated - Pennsylvania`s largest portable telescope). It can be seen on our website at: and also attend several regional starparties during the year, and have been on 5 total solar eclipse expeditions.

Organizations: President, Erie County Mobile Observers Group for over 15 years.

Publications: Wrote the "Over Erie Skies" newspaper article in our local newspaper for 11 years (1975-86).

Education: Masters Degree- Taught at the University level for 13 years. Retired 20 years -USAF Pilot - KC-135 with 180 combat missions;  Also Eagle Scout, Philmont staff 2 Yrs, Order of Arrow Lodge Chief, Ham Radio (inactive).

Awards: two discoveries: The mini-coathanger asterism in Ursa Minor (the little dipper) And the mini-ladle- another asterism in the bowl of Ursa Minor. Clients: Currently President of the ECMOG as mentioned above.

BS  Metallurgical Engineering Grove City College, PAMaster's Degree, Gannon University, Erie, PA Also retired USAF pilot, 20 years.

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